Christine Chiu understands the narration. As Netflix Producer empire bling, Chiu helped bring the first reality series featuring an ensemble cast of Asian-American actors to the streaming giant’s platform. The show, which enters its second season this weekend, has been a hit and its insight into the opulent lifestyles of the ultra-rich in Los Angeles has proven addictive. The drama was juicy, but Chiu’s interest in storytelling began long before she hit the small screen. “Anything I can do to help tell a story excites me,” she shared at Casa Cipriani in New York. “Before we even started bling, I was working on several TV projects in various stages of development, and it was so rewarding. Whatever form a story takes – art, music, film or fashion – the process appeals to me.
Whether she’s producing the show or working with nonprofits like Spike Lee’s Ghetto Film School, which strives to help next-generation filmmakers in underserved communities get an education and support, Chiu focused on bringing other people’s stories to life. His entry into the spotlight as a member of the bling the casting was unexpected. “I was looking at the project as a whole,” says Chiu. “Most of the cast had already been assembled, so I wasn’t planning on being in front of the camera.” Initially comfortable playing a background role, Chiu’s opinion changed after considering the importance of representation. “I never saw people who looked like me on TV when I was little, and I felt we could help change the landscape,” she says. “I thought about my son’s generation, how he will feel when he watches television and sees people who look like him being celebrated for their beauty, their quirks and their intelligence. at that, I knew I had to be a part of it.”
Chiu’s entry into reality television was the latest evolution in a career centered on entrepreneurship — she and her husband, Dr. Gabriel Chiu, co-founded Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery and the Regenerative Medicine Aesthetic Institute — and philanthropy . While her active social calendar tends to get all the attention, Chiu’s daily life is far removed from what makes the pages of society. “My husband and I had to divide and conquer,” she explains. “When we met, we were working at the same medical company, where I was vice president of sales and marketing. When we started our business, I knew that putting on the ‘breakfast ladies’ hat was a promotional tool. Part of my job was to make those critical connections that can only happen in face-to-face encounters.”
This skill is a key part of what makes Chiu so watchable on the show, but filming the second season came with challenges she couldn’t have anticipated. “Between seasons one and two, I lost my mother very suddenly, which was incredibly difficult,” she says. “I had always thought of myself as a go-getter and committed to this project, so I didn’t want to back down. I tried to look good for my family and fulfill my commitments, but I was in a vulnerable position. [Still,] I learned so many valuable lessons. My proudest moment, and perhaps the positive side of it all, is that I finally felt comfortable standing up for myself, which [I consider] a form of self-care. In traditional Asian households, you are often taught to keep your feelings inside, especially when people treat you badly. Finding the strength to stand up for yourself and your needs, whether professional or emotional, is empowering.
Chiu’s on-screen journey has become less dramatic and more realistic this time around. “We want to do a great show; we do it for our people,” she said. “It brought a sense of pride and made us understand the responsibilities that come with this platform, so we’re all trying to do our part.” The shift in perspective is evident in Chiu’s current fashion choices. “I’m a mom of a toddler, and he’s constantly running around, so my schedule is more about dropping him off at preschool and arranging play dates than attending social brunches” , she says. “This season you get a much fuller wardrobe; I wear my jeans and t-shirts much more often. My jeans are Chanel, so the glamor isn’t going anywhere.